When it was announced that this week's edition of BBC Question Time would be held in Barking it occurred to me that the BBC might be planning to spring a little surprise by having British National Party leader Nick Griffin on the show again.

It seems this will not be the case however. Nonetheless there were good reasons to suppose that Mr Griffin would be making an appearance.

When the BBC first took the controversial decision to invite Mr Griffin onto the programme in 2009, it did so saying that the election of two BNP candidates as Members of the European Parliament earlier in the year meant that the party achieved significant representation through democratic elections and could no longer be ignored.

The election of Mr Griffin and Andrew Brons was of course a minor breakthrough for the BNP, which came after a number of earlier minor breakthroughs in local and regional elections, and set the media abuzz with fears that the far right were making serious advances in British politics.

The BBC was right to invite Mr Griffin onto the programme, as they could not really ignore his party and still claim to be impartial, following the party's success at the polls.

However the BBC made one mistake in that they announced months in advance that they would be having Mr Griffin on the programme and thereby turned what would be the weekly Question Time episode into a political issue that had politicians like Peter Hain and far left groups like Unite Against Fascism (of which David Cameron is a supporter) up in arms.

Had they just had him on the programme without making any kind of statement then not only would all the fuss have been reduced (although no doubt there would have been one after the programme) but the programme would not turn into the "Bash Nick Griffin Show" as it did in 2009 and yet still Mr Griffin would in all likelihood have been exposed to be the ridiculous and faintly sinister figure that he is.

Considering all this it seems that the time for Mr Griffin to make a reappearance might have come or at least be nearing, indeed the BBC initially suggested that he might be on the programme every year, although he was not invited on in 2010 and has yet to be this year either.

This seems odd as Mr Griffin and Mr Brons are still MEP's, which was the original justification for having them on the show. True the BNP were hit hard politically at local elections last year, most spectacularly in Barking and Dagenham where they went from being the official opposition with 12 councillors to losing all their seats (the borough is now a one-party state under Labour isn't local government wonderful?).

Barking was also the scene of Mr Griffin's doomed attempt last year to become an MP. It was of course the BNP's previous (but still quite recent) successes in Barking which led me to suspect that the party might be making a surprise appearance on Question Time.

Since the routing of Mr Griffin and his party the BNP has reportedly been in turmoil, with empty coffers thanks to legal battles to overturn its racially discriminatory membership rules and considerable displeasure among BNP activists about Mr Griffin's leadership, leading Mr Griffin to say he will stand down in 2013.

So the grim tide of fascism predicted by the doom-mongers in 2009 certainly has not swept over the nation, but is receding, for the moment at least.

But however much as we may not like it, the BNP still has more representation than other smaller parties, whose representatives make it onto Question Time without controversy and with greater regularity than Mr Griffin.

The best example is of course the Respect Party, a bizarre coalition of current and former communists, hard-leftists and Islamist sympathisers. The regime they would institute if given the chance does not bear thinking about and would probably collapse under the weight of its own contradictions.

A quick look at the numbers shows that the BNP, whose rule also does not bear contemplation, has significantly greater (although still tiny) representation than that of the party of George Galloway.

The BNP has two MEP's out of the 72 elected for Great Britain, Respect has none. Respect has just six of Britain's 22,000 local councillors, while the BNP has 28. Neither party has any MP's, although Respect did have Mr Galloway until the 2010 election.

Clearly neither of these parties is about to sweep the nation, but the BNP does have a clear lead when it comes to elected representatives. Despite this Mr Galloway has appeared twice on Question Time since the general election, while Salma Yaqoob, leader of Respect has appeared once.

Amusingly Mr Galloway now works for Press TV, the broadcasting arm of the Iranian Government, the president of which famously does not believe in the Holocaust (who does that remind us of?).

Even more amusingly Mr Galloway can now be seen on posters all over the London Underground advertising his Press TV show with the words "Why are they trying to silence us?" One can't help but think if "they" were really trying to silence him then they would not sell him advertising space that will be seen daily by hundreds of thousands of people, nor would "they" give him more appearances on Question Time than his party deserves. One could also point out that such a statement is verging on the disgraceful when he now takes the money of a government which knows very well how to silence its opponents and does not hesitate to do so.

The point is not that Mr Galloway should not be on Question Time. The BBC has every right to have him on and indeed many of the best panellists are those who do not represent any political party and come from the world of journalism or business.

However if the BBC really believed that having two MEP's is enough to get you on Question Time in 2009, then presumably that reasoning still stands and we can expect to see Mr Griffin on our screens in the near future. Unless of course the whole thing was a ratings chasing exercise, and a highly successful one at that which got Question Time it's biggest ever audience. Surely not.